Conger eels are a large family of eel-like fish that make up the conger family. The family includes about 32 genera and at least 160 species. All eels are characterized by an elongated, serpentine body, the dorsal and anal fins fused with the tail fin, forming a solid plane with the flattened body. The head, as a rule, is also compressed in a vertical plane. The mouth is large, with conical teeth on the jaws. Skin without scales, fish color can be very diverse. At the first meeting with sea eels, most people perceive them as snakes.

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Conger Eel Fishing

Characteristics of conger eel

Fishes lead a benthic lifestyle, are ambush predators that feed on various mollusks, crustaceans, and small fish. Using powerful jaws crush the shells of any mollusk. For most of the inhabitants of Europe, the Atlantic conger species is the most famous. This fish inhabits colder regions compared to other species. It may enter Norwegian Seas. The Atlantic Conger is much larger than its river cousin, but its meat is less fat and much less valued.

Conger eel can grow about 3 m in length and weigh more than 100 kg. In soft soil, eels dig holes for themselves, on a rocky relief they hide in clefts of rocks. Many species live at considerable depths. Traces of their existence are known at a depth of 2000-3000 m. Often at the bottom form clusters in the form of colonies. Most species are poorly studied due to their secrecy and lifestyle. With all this, many fish are commercial. The share of their production in the world fishing industry is very significant.

Reproduction habit of conger eel

Scientists believe that most sea eels reproduce in the same way as river eels: once in a lifetime. Maturity reaches the age of 5-15 years. As already mentioned, many tropical species are poorly understood and the breeding cycle is unknown. According to some reports, spawning takes place at depths of more than 2000 m. As for the Atlantic conger, its reproduction, like that of river eel, is probably associated with the Gulf Stream. Some scientists believe that fish migrate to part of the ocean west of Portugal. After spawning, the fish die. The development cycle of the larva – leptocephalus, is similar to river eel.

Conger eel fishing guide: Techniques, bait and gear

Conger eel fishing techniques

Due to living conditions and behavioral patterns, fishing for eels has some features. Most fishing and amateur equipment are hooked. Field workers get them on various gears such as tiers and so on. In amateur fishing from the shore, bottom and spinning gear prevail. In the case of fishing from boats – marine spinning rods for plumb fishing.

Catching conger eel on bottom gear

Conger eels are often caught from the shore by “long-range” bottom fishing rods. At night, they “patrol” the coastal area in search of food. For the bottom tackle, various rods with “running equipment” are used, these can be either specialized “surf” rods or various spinning rods. The length and test of the rods should correspond to the selected tasks and terrain.


As with other marine fishing methods, there is no need to use delicate equipment. This is due both to the conditions of fishing, and the ability to catch a fairly large, lively fish, the fishing of which must be forced because the conger has a habit of hiding in a rocky terrain in case of danger. In many cases, fishing can take place at great depths and distances, which means that there is a need for prolonged exhaustion of forests, which requires certain physical exertion on the part of the fisherman and increased requirements for the strength of gear and reels. According to the principle of action, the coils can be either multiplier or inertia-free. Accordingly, the rods are selected depending on the reel system. To select a fishing spot, you must consult experienced local fishers or guides.

As already mentioned, fishing is best done at night. In this case, the use of various signaling devices is mandatory. The bite can be very careful, inconspicuous, so you should not leave the gear unattended. Otherwise, there is a danger that the fish “go” to the rocks and more. In general, when fighting a conger, extreme care must be taken, even medium-sized individuals resist “to the end,” while injuring experienced fishers.

Spinning for conger eel

Fishing takes place from boats of various classes at great depths of the northern seas. For fishing on bottom gear, anglers use sea-class spinning rods. The basic requirement is reliability. The reels should be with an impressive supply of fishing line or cord. In addition to a trouble-free brake system, the reel must be protected against salt water. Vertical fishing from a boat may differ in lure feed principles. In many types of sea fishing, quick reeling of tackle may be required, which means a high gear ratio of the winding mechanism.


In bottom fishing of sea fish, fishing technique is very important. In order to select the correct wiring, consult with experienced local fishermen or guides. For all types of fishing, it is worth bearing in mind that it is necessary to take into account the possibility of prolonged fishing, in which leashes experience heavy loads. For leashes, thick monoleski are used, sometimes thicker than 1 mm.

Conger eel fishing bait

Various classic lures are used for spinning fishing, including a large number of silicone imitations. When fishing on equipment using natural baits, various mollusks and slicing of fish meat are suitable. Experienced anglers believe that the attachment should be as fresh as possible, although some “experiment lovers” also use pre-prepared baits using subsequent freezing.

Conger eel fishing place

Most sea eels live in tropical and subtropical seas. Significant populations of the Atlantic conger inhabit the waters adjacent to Great Britain, as well as the seas surrounding Iceland. In general, the distribution area is located from the Black Sea to the eastern shores of North America. The largest conger was caught off the island of Vestmannaeyjar (Iceland), its weight was 160 kg.

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